Megan McArdle reviews the platinum coin silliness and notes that the bills are coming due for decades of imbalance between revenues and expenses:
But confronting our spending problem, and our tax problem, is going to be extraordinarily painful. An aging population and a lackluster economy mean that there is no money for exciting new legislative initiatives—or even for easing the pain of putting our finances on a sound footing. Everyone wants to preserve entitlements, but no one wants the taxes needed to pay for them. Everyone wants tax cuts, but no one wants to trim spending to match. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.I used to have a 386/25MHz Gateway computer with an 80MB hard drive and, as programs got fatter, there was simply no more space to be had. At first I backed up pictures and audio files on 3.5" disks (wow, really dating myself here) but eventually I had to make deep cuts. It was either Windows 2.0 to write term papers or "The Ancient Art of War." Choices needed to be made before the whole system crashed.
And so we are getting minute-to-minute strategy at exactly the time that we most need creative long-range planning to address the pressures we face from an aging population. Legislators are no longer thinking ahead even as far as the next election; all their focus is on the next Pyrrhic victory. The very worst thing about this stupid platinum coin idea is that it's the most practical, results-oriented solution that has so far been suggested for our current problems.